Known for his hard-hitting award-winning documentaries “Raw Deal: A Question of Consent” and “Cocaine Cowboys,” filmmaker Billy Corben isn’t one to shy away from difficult subject matters. His latest film, “Dawg Fight,” is no exception. A brutal exposé on underground backyard MMA fighting in one of Miami’s toughest and poorest neighborhoods, “Dawg Fight” is unflinching in its depiction of the dark side of the American dream. It’s so dark, in fact, that two of the fighters featured in the film are now dead.
“To me, it’s continuing in our tradition of telling stories that are twisted takes on the American dream,” Corben recently told Indiewire.
Given the subject matter, which involves desperate men beating each other to bloody pulps for money, Corben realized early on that it might not be an easy sell for distributors.
“Everybody is excited about the content and thrilled with the story and the storytelling, but nobody wants to [commit],” said Corben. “There are mainstream outlets, even on the sports side, that will not cover this, that will not put clips of this movie on their websites. For the same reasons, I think that we’ve struggled with distribution on it.”
Trough his production company Racontur, Corben was all set to sell the film for $5 via this dedicated web site powered by VHX technology. That’s still happening, but in addition, Netflix has stepped up to acquire the film for its streaming platform (no word yet on when the film will be available). The film will also have its theatrical premiere at the O Cinema Wynwood in Miami, Florida as part of The Miami International Film Festival.
“Back in the day, everyone wanted a studio deal; now everyone wants a streaming deal,” said Corben. “We were never interested in a theatrical release on ‘Dawg Fight’ and we wanted to get this movie out by any means necessary. We always believed that the audience for it was online. In addition making plans to release it via dawg-fight.com, Alfred [Racontur producing partner Alfred Spellman] and I still felt that this movie needed to be available on a much bigger platform. We’ve put a lot into this project and it means so much to us that Netflix has acknowledged that and is come aboard as our partners to share it with their subscribers.”
Check out the exclusive clip from the film, which will be available beginning March 13 (following its theatrical premiere).